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The Riigikogu passed with 55 votes in favour the Equal Treatment Act (384 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Social Democratic Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that everyone is protected against discrimination on the grounds of nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Act provides the principles of equal treatment and the tasks in the implementation and promotion of the principle of equal treatment, and resolution of discrimination disputes. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2009. One member of the Riigikogu voted against the Act, nobody abstained.

The Act on Amendments to the European Parliament Election Act, the Local Government Council Election Act, the Referendum Act and the Riigikogu Election Act (321 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 80 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendments is to give voters the possibility to use electronic voting in elections and referendums during a longer period than has been the case so far. In addition, a possibility will be created for using a mobile phone (mobile ID) besides the ID-card in electronic voting. The Act enters into force on the tenth day following the day of publication in the Riigi Teataja; §§ 4, 9, 13 and 18 enter into force on 1 January 2011. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Republic of Estonia Education Act and the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (279 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Peeter Kreitzberg, Sven Mikser, Igor Gräzin, Mark Soosaar, Lauri Vahtre and Marek Strandberg, was passed with 84 votes in favour. The purpose of the amendment is to extend the variety in choosing educational literature. According to the amendment, the responsibility of the Ministry will only be to direct and organise the compiling of teaching aids, including educational literature, for students with special needs. As concerns other educational literature, then only the establishing of the requirements for educational literature will remain within the competence of the Ministry. Issuers of educational literature will be required to confirm the conformity of a textbook, work exercise-book or workbook to the requirements established in the Regulation in the title page thereof. The Act is also amended by adding the sub-register of educational literature, and the making of entries in and the deleting of entries from the register is provided in the Act. This Act enters into force on 1 September 2009. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Taxation Act, the Commercial Code and Associated Acts (377 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 79 votes in favour. According to the amendment, sole proprietors will be registered only in the commercial register as of 1 January 2009. Up to now, the majority of sole proprietors are registered with the register of taxable persons maintained at the Tax and Customs Board while some undertakings are registered with the commercial register. When the sole proprietors who have been registered with the register of taxable persons are entered in the commercial register, a comprehensive overview of all registered undertakings will be available and the integrity and the possibility of processing of data will be ensured. The Act also provides a more specific regulation of the granting of international professional assistance and establishes the opportunity to perform the act before a financial claim or obligation is determined. The specified provision is necessary in cases when the tax authority has reason to believe that the tax arrears cannot be collected after a notice of assessment or a liability decision is made because the person has no property. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2009, § 3 enters into force on 1 January 2010. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
 
The Act on Amendments to the Forest Act, the Environmental Charges Act and the Participation in Legal Persons in Private Law by the State Act (350 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 58 votes in favour. The purpose of the Act is to establish revenue of the income of the State Forest Management Centre to the state budget on the same bases as in the case of companies with state participation. The bases for the allocation of funds to the Foundation (the Environmental Investment Centre) on the basis of the Environmental Charges Act have also been corrected accordingly. In addition, the Participation in Legal Persons in Private Law by the State Act is amended with the aim of creating better opportunities for profit-making state agencies to cooperate with the private sector in business, economy and development. This Act enters into force on 1 January 2009. 11 member of the Riigikogu voted against the Act and 2 members of the Riigikogu abstained.
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
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